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Steve Upson, a soils and crops consultant and greenhouse guru, approached me about a farm visit he thought would intrigue me. I happily accepted his invitation, and the next day I climbed into a Suburban with him and his wife, Jeannie. We drove deep into the Sulphur countryside and turned onto a gravel driveway lined with free-range guinea fowl. Steve was right. I was intrigued.
"We don’t have any financial restrictions…but we want to make money," Bryan Nichols, a livestock consultant and one of our acting "cooperators," instructed us a week ago as our team met to begin our rural life plan project, which will be the focus of our presentation at the end of the summer.
Conner and I got off to an early start this morning, along with Noble Livestock Consultant Bryan Nichols, Agricultural Economist Dan Childs and Research Associate Josh Gaskamp. When 5 a.m. rolled around, we loaded up in the car and made our way toward Combine, Texas.
Boarding the airplane to Ardmore, my knowledge of Oklahoma was largely provided by Rodgers and Hammerstein, as I think is the case with most upstate New Yorkers. Indeed, mentioning my voyage to this state invariably prompted an off-key, although hearty, rendition of the "Oklahoma!" theme song.
One of the many projects we had the opportunity to partake of kicked off last weekend as Morgan, Helen and I headed to Tulsa on Friday afternoon. Our destination the next morning was the Cherry Street Farmers' Market, one of the largest farmers markets in Oklahoma.
Even if just for a summer, it took a lot for a true, native Texan like me to cross the Red River and move to Oklahoma. However, I was excited to begin my summer at The Noble Research Institute in Ardmore.
At 7 a.m. on a Friday, we were huddled around the coffee machine before embarking on a farm visit to Dustin, Oklahoma.
Twice a week for the last month, we have helped Ira and Seth with the rotational grazing project by collecting fecal and forage samples from 24 calves on 12, one-acre paddocks. The goal is to gather information about what the cattle eat and how plant communities respond in different grazing situations.
I am really trying to make the most of my time here in Ardmore. Today, we had a meeting about our final presentations. For my presentation I will be attempting to sum up the past three months of my life here into a mere 10-minute PowerPoint.
Looking at the stubborn seeds that had refused to germinate, it was clear that we would be repeating the experiment for the third time. The 360 sad, little Medicago truncatula seeds stared up at me from within their plastic tubes and refused to offer any usable data.